Spotlight on: Instructor Mark Watkins
U Drive Cars are a family run business with 18 years experience. It’s a seamless operation of high quality driving experiences and corporate driving events – and now it’s time to get to know the faces that make it all happen. More specifically, the instructors out on the track who love to make sure you, our customer, has the best experience possible taking your favourite car for an exhilarating spin.
Instructor Mark Watkins has been a part of the U Drive team for five years – but what’s his story?
Hi Mark, tell us a little bit about you and your background
I’m a 48 year old father of three who makes a living from instructing in rally cars and supercars. I also work as a photographer for local media and more recently as an extra in TV and film.
I first got into racing after watching the 1985 RAC Rally with Group B supercars, spitting flames and howling through the forest at night. I was instantly hooked! I then navigated on various road rallies until I reached the age of 17 and could compete myself.
I won the novice section of the Cotswold Roadsport Championship (in a company car!) and then began stage rallying at 21 in an A Series MG Metro gaining top three class results – unfortunately with a ‘win it or bin it’ approach. I think at some point that the Metro lost every corner! I then drove Vauxhall Novas and Ford Escorts on Club Stage Rallies, gaining class wins in both front and rear wheel drive. Since then I have driven and navigated on Stage Rallies at national level.
What’s been your career highlight?
My highlights have been instructing a totally blind man in the fastest ever blind lap around the BBC Top Gear track in the Top Gear ‘Reasonably Priced Car’. In fact, it ended up being the fifth ever fastest time in the ‘Reasonably Fast Car’!
What does a working day at U Drive Cars look like for you?
I’ve been working at U Drive Cars since covering for a fellow instructor and I’ve not looked back since – I love it. For the majority of the time I am the instructor in the Nissan GTR which is my absolute favourite U Drive car. I share time doing hot laps with other instructors and making folk smile, which is always my priority along with doing my job to the highest standard – with a little bit of banter along the way, of course!
Thanks Mark! Anything else?
I don’t take life too seriously, so we’re guaranteed to have a laugh if you do a lap with me!